Showing Love in the Midst of Difference

A few weeks ago, we published two posts on ways people could be more supportive of celibate LGBT Christians. Our target audience for these posts was straight Christians with both traditional and progressive views on sexual ethics. Not long after publishing these, we heard from several non-celibate LGBT Christian readers who wanted to know if there are any ways they could be more supportive of celibate singles and couples within the LGBT community. In response to these inquiries, we wanted to share some positive examples of how non-celibate LGBT Christian friends have shown us encouragement, kindness, and compassion.

As we reflected together before drafting this post, we concluded quickly that we have lots of awesome friends. We decided to keep our comments as generalized categories instead of stating names because we hope that many of our friends will see themselves in multiple categories. We’re so very grateful to all of the people who have shown us love, even across various theological differences.

With Lindsey being between jobs right now, we’re deeply appreciative of how our friends have stepped up to the plate to offer help when we’ve needed it. Our friends have been there with love, prayers, and significant financial support. We have been amazed at how this generosity has crossed all borders that divide Christians. Several friends even approached us with gifts before learning about our exact needs. To say we were blown away is an understatement. We remain profoundly grateful and look forward to the day of being able to pay their generosity forward. These folks can testify to the fact that you don’t have to be living the same kind of life as another person, or even understand his or her way of life, in order to extend to Christian charity.

We’ve also been humbled by friends who have shown us an earnest belief that every person matters, has value, and is worth getting to know. These folks will ask us questions about our way of life, knowing that our answers do not come from a place trying to convince them that they must adopt our way of life for themselves. They are legitimately curious when asking us about what we did the previous weekend, which books we’re reading, how God is challenging us to grow spiritually, and other such questions. Many of these friends neither understand nor agree with our approach to sexuality-related issues. Nevertheless, they exemplify that having the same theology and the same way of life is not a prerequisite for meaningful friendships. Their relationships with us showcase that it is in fact possible to experience authentic intimacy and care for another person without focusing on who’s “right” and who’s “wrong.”

We have also been so grateful for friends who have thrown themselves selflessly into supporting us through some really hard stuff. As our regular readers can attest, the last several months have been trying and stressful for us. It’s been great to have friends we can turn to whenever we need a listening ear regardless of what’s going on. If we’re experiencing a major problem in our lives or in our relationship, these friends are our “go-tos” when we need a sounding board. It’s also fantastically mutual in that they will call us whenever similar shit is hitting the fan for them. We’re able to take the time to listen, pray, be present for, and find solutions together when necessary. This arrangement works almost flawlessly because we know that these friends view us in identically the same way as they view all of their other close friends rather than conceiving of us as “that weird celibate couple.”

Another trend we’ve noticed in our close non-celibate LGBT friends is that they are fiercely protective of us. Mother bears have nothing on some of these folks. It’s comforting to know that we have friends we can turn to when we want to feel outraged about something that has happened. We have friends who don’t need to have all of the details before offering to readjust some heads, eyes, ears, or other body parts. When Sarah’s tires got slashed several months ago, it brought a smile to our faces that we had friends offering (in jest) to fly into our metro area to seek some vigilante justice. Though we’d never want someone to incite violence on our behalf, we are glad to have friends who will defend us if we’ve been wronged, support our choices as we deal with the aftermath of being wronged, and move into our emotional space with us when we just need to be majorly irked for a few minutes (or hours or days, as the case may be). Even though they certainly would not choose celibacy for themselves, we know they’d go down swinging to defend us as a celibate couple.

We’re amazed at how many specific individuals came to mind as we wrote this post. We lost count at 28. All of these people are LGBT Christians. Some are partnered, some are dating, and some are hoping to find that special someone. They come from virtually every Christian tradition under the sun. Some are out in very public ways, and others are not. Some have decided to transition their genders socially, medically, legally, or any combination therein. They are scattered across multiple countries. Some are incredibly active in church, some rarely attend religious services of any kind, and others are everywhere in between. We are incredibly blessed to share our life with so many people who can see beyond right and wrong as they look into the heart of Christ.

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